HIV-Positive Teacher Sues Chicago School System, Claims Discrimination
An HIV-positive Chicago Public Schools elementary teacher filed a discrimination lawsuit against the district Wednesday, claiming the school’s principal routinely punished him for tardiness despite special accommodations granted by CPS, the Chicago Tribune reports.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court, Jumeck Smith accused the principal at Von Humboldt Elementary on Chicago's Northwest Side of failing to adhere to the district's accommodations, which allow Smith to report to work five minutes later than his co-workers. According to Smith, his condition limited his movement so that he was frequently reporting to work after the 8 a.m. start time for teachers.
"It's a long building and he has to walk a bit of a distance. And I'm not an expert on HIV issues, but I think it takes him a long time to do something that you or I could do very simply," Smith's attorney, Christopher Cooper, told the Tribune.
Cooper also told the Tribune that Smith, who taught fifth and eighth grades at Von Humboldt, was approached by the principal at the beginning of the school year and informed that his tardiness from the previous school year resulted in 15 citations that were being reported to CPS headquarters. Smith was removed from his eighth-grade classroom, Cooper added.